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Vaccination gaps led to global resurgence of measles – WHO

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Gaps in vaccination coverage led to a resurgence of measles globally in 2017, the World Health Organisation has said.

According to WHO, measles outbreaks occurred in all regions in 2017, while there were an estimated 110,000 deaths related to the disease.

In August, the Director of Medical Services Dr Kioko Jackson warned that measles outbreaks continued to erupt in new counties as well as recurring in previously affected counties.

This was due to various reasons including continued existence of risk factors and inadequate resources to facilitate implementation of effective interventions.

According to the Ministry of Health, the measles outbreak was reported in Wajir and Mandera counties in February 2018 with a total of 39 and 103 cases recorded respectively. One person died.

“Reported measles cases spiked in 2017, as multiple countries experienced severe and protracted outbreaks of the disease,” WHO says.

Read: Unicef, Kakamega county in mobile vaccination drive

In a report released on Friday, more than 21 million lives have been saved since 2000 through measles immunizations. However, reported cases increased by more than 30 per cent worldwide from 2016.

Globally, an estimated 20.8 million infants did not receive MCV1 through routine immunization services in 2017.

“The resurgence of measles is of serious concern, with extended outbreaks occurring across regions, and particularly in countries that had achieved, or were close to achieving measles elimination,” Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Deputy Director General for Programmes at WHO said.

According to WHO, the disease is preventable through two doses of a safe and effective vaccine but global coverage with the first dose of measles vaccine has stalled at 85 percent for several years.

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